Dragons of War
by Christopher Rowley
Reviewed by Coral
After waiting for two years for his dragoness to return Bazil had all but given up hope. Then one day Relkin notices a ship docked at their fort's harbor that has a wild dragoness and her young caged up. Bazil's dragoness lives! Unfortunately the confrontation that follows proves deadly for some of the ship's crew. Now Relkin is faced with court-martial and execution. Desertion seems the better option, so that's what he and his dragon do.
But that is all (literally) forgiven and forgotten when the armies of the Dark Masters of Padmasa finally march on the cities of Argonath.
While this is not what I would classify as an absolutely horrible book, it certainly isn't a very good one.
Relkin's legal problems take up the first hundred pages and, after that, are never mentioned again.
The last two books have illustrated, again and again, how utterly inept the villains are, so it's not like there's any real suspense over how the war/book would turn out.
Why is it that all of Rowley's women/female characters are pathetic when they become mothers? Instead of being able to protect her young, like one would expect of any wild animal mother, the female dragon is captured along with them. Lagdalen's career takes a backseat to her child. The job she once was so excited to begin is now just a burden on her time. Why can't she do both? Why can't she want to do both?
I'm starting to really dislike the witches that Lagdalen works with. They don't approve of anything the Argonath emperor decides, they assassinate rulers they consider unfit, and are not above using spells to manipulate rulers into making the decisions they want. Instead of pretending to just be spies and agents, if they think that only they can truly act in the best interest of the country, they should just take over.
I just don't understand the government structure of Rowley's world. The elves don't seem to get along with the humans, the dragons are raised by small villages to fight in the armies, but are considered no better than beasts, little tribal chiefs seem to exists independently inside of Argonath without anyone knowing about them. It's not very clear, over all.
Relkin falls for yet another girl in this book that he believes is too far above him. Three in three books! Though I'd rather read about his romantic interludes than about Bazil trying to woo his dragoness, or two mice getting it on. Animal on animal action is as gross as animal on human. Bestiality is something I'd just rather not read about.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I truly believe that just writing a story is not enough, that an author has to put thought into the language he or she uses to tell that story. In a fantastical, non-earth world, it doesn't make any sense to refer to legends and people out of ancient (EARTH) cultures. Achilles is not a person who would feature in any of the legends of Argonath, so his name shouldn't be used when describing someone's tendon.
English is also a language that is continually evolving. Words that were appropriate in the past are not always going to be appropriate in the future as new meanings are given to them. Yes, one of the definitions of "faggot" is a bundle of sticks, but given that it's more common meaning is a bigoted epitaph, I don't think it's an appropriate word to be using anymore. If you want to say bundle of sticks, than say bundle of sticks.
All in all this is a bland and boring read.